When discussing batteries in vaping, it can mean a few different things. It can refer to the long thin battery that powers a Cig-A-Like, standalone cylindrical batteries, or the box which includes not only these batteries but also the casing, circuitry and CPU. To simplify things, we’ll refer to this box as the ‘mod’. No matter whether you’re using a Cig-A-Like, a vape pen or a box mod, they all work in the same way. When the device is fired, power is sent from the battery to the atomizer, heating the e-juice and converting it into breathable vapor. Vaping devices hold an impressive amount of energy so it’s important to be safe when using them. In this part of our beginner’s guide, we’ll look at some basic battery information, before exploring the different types of batteries and mods, and how to use them safely.
Types of battery – The two most common types of battery used in vaping are lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries and IMR batteries. LiPo batteries are sealed into the device and cannot be removed. This includes vape pens and mods such as the Innokin Cool Fire IV and the Kanger Kbox 70. IMR batteries can be removed and replaced, and are seen as safer and more economical than LiPo variety.
Size – The physical size of the batteries inside the mod are a good indicator of how long they will last – the bigger they are, the longer they will last. A slim vape pen such as the Innokin VV V4 can only contain a small LiPo battery and will run out of power much quicker than a larger model such as the iStick 50w.
What is mAh? – The mAh value describes the storage capacity available for that particular battery. A battery rated of 3000 mAh can produce a current of 3000mA for one hour. The higher the mAh rating then longer the mod will last between charges.
Lifespan – All batteries have a natural lifespan. This can vary between models, and depends on how often you use it, but they usually decline after 1-2 years, or 300-500 charges.
This is the most basic form of e-cigarette, and has various limitations compared to more advanced models. The power level cannot be adjusted and the batteries used are small. This means they don’t give out much power and are only suitable for plus-ohm vaping (see our previous guide for more information). They also run out of charge much quicker than a dedicated battery and tank kit. However, this makes them very safe to use and are a good option for the complete beginner. Some companies sell disposable Cig-A-Likes, which can be safely discarded after use but most are designed to be recharged, using a USB connection. This is the safest option but most serious vapers will want to progress to a more powerful set-up.
Batteries for Regulated Mods
Regulated mods are more advanced than the all-in-one Cig-A-Like style of e-cigarette. They are a standalone power source which needs to be attached to a tank, and are often the largest and most expensive part of a typical vaping set-up. Most have a built-in CPU that lets you adjust the voltage or wattage to your personal preference. This is known as variable voltage (VV) or variable wattage (VW) and allows you to adjust the heat sent to the tank, making for more or less vapor production. The processor also regulates the electrical current provided by the batteries. This means the vapor production is constant and reliable, whether the batteries are fully charged or running low. Most importantly, they also have in-built safety measures which make them a fairly safe choice for new vapers. There are a few different kinds of regulated mods, which we’ll look at below.
Built-in Batteries – These are mods in which the batteries cannot be removed, and so the whole thing must be thrown away when it reaches the end of its natural life. Despite this, these types of mods can be convenient for the novice vaper. There are no concerns about placing the batteries in correctly, buying an external charger or dealing with the other safety issues of removable batteries. These mods are charged by plugging into a USB port and many offer pass-through vaping where you can keep using it while charging. Most modern mods are designed for both plus-ohm and sub-ohm vaping, but older models, such as the vape pen style, are only designed for plus-ohm vaping.
Replaceable Batteries – Mods with external batteries are more cost-effective as the batteries they use can be replaced when they reach the end of their lifespan. Some can be charged by USB but most require an external charger. They use high-drain IMR batteries, such as the 18650. These don’t usually come with the mod, and must be purchased separately. This kind of mod requires some basic battery safety knowledge, which we will explain below.
Advanced Mods – A recent addition to the vaping scene, this kind of mod adds many useful features to the typical regulated mod. Mods such as the Smok Cube II offer bluetooth connectivity, temperature control, firmware updates and other advanced features. These are larger and more expensive than typical mods and require external batteries. We would only recommend this type of set-up to users with advanced knowledge of vaping.
Batteries for Unregulated Mods
Also known as mech mods, these should only be used by experienced vapers. These bare-bones devices were first designed by hobbyists who modified flashlights to provide more power when vaping. They don’t contain any circuitry, so all the power from the battery is sent immediately to the atomizer, meaning wattage can only be affected by using coils with different resistance levels. As the battery runs out, the vape also decreases in strength. There are many detailed safety issues involved in using this kind of set-up so for the purposes of this article, we recommend all readers stick to regulated mods.
Safety Advice For Mods With Internal Batteries
Charge Correctly – Most built-in battery mods charge using a USB cable. You should always use the cable that came with your kit, but if not make sure the power output of the cable matches the mod. If the charger has a higher voltage than the battery it could overheat and damage it. It’s best to charge using your PC as this has extra safety features than charging through a wall socket.
Handle With Care – The LiPo batteries used in these mods are vulnerable to knocks and bumps. They are protected by little more than a foil casing, meaning a particularly hard knock can damage this internal battery. Modern mods are designed to minimise this but if you are worried it can help to buy a rubber cover for your mod, which helps to absorb any accidental shocks.
Use Correct Tanks and Coils – Some mods have a set limit when it comes to the types of coil they can fire. If the resistance is too high or low for your mod, it can severely damage it. Check what range your gear can work with, and work within these limits.
Buy Authentic – To ensure your mod has gone through proper tests you should only purchase your gear from authorized dealers. Avoid second hand items as there’s no way of knowing how the previous owner treated their kit.
Safe Storage – Don’t leave your mod unattended in hot or moist environments, and never leave it charging overnight. Leaving your kit in direct sunlight can cause it to heat up with dangerous consequences.
Safety Advice For Mods With Replaceable Batteries
Replaceable batteries are more economical but involve a greater awareness of battery safety. These mods usually require an external charger, although some can be charged by USB. Many of the above points apply to using mods with removable batteries, but there are extra concerns you should be aware of.
Charge Properly – Use a good quality charger for your batteries, such as the Nitecore charger series. Remove them as soon as they reach full power, and let them rest for an hour or so. This reduces the risk of failure.
Use Quality Batteries – Never buy batteries from an unverified source as there are many fakes on the market. Only buy trusted brand names from authorized dealers. Samsung 18650 IMR batteries are the most popular option when it comes to removable batteries, as they are safe and long-lasting. However, we recommend you research what the most suitable batteries are for your particular mod, and most importantly never use different styles of battery in the same device.
Battery Holder – Never carry your batteries loose as they can suffer serious damage if they knock against coins, keys or each other. Batteries are delicate objects and may fail and cease working, or at worst they could leak or explode. Buy a simple plastic battery holder to avoid these risks.
It’s important not to be put off by the media attention over the dangers of exploding e-cigarettes and vaping kits. These events are few and far between, especially when compared to similar incidents involving mobile phones. Any item that uses batteries is a potential hazard, and a few precautions can reduce these risks and make for a safe vaping experience. In this article, we gave a clear run-down of the various types of vaping battery, as well as covering the basics of battery safety, but for more detailed information you should read our advanced article here.